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Resumes & Cover Letters

Consider your resume and cover letter to be a professional marketing tool where you can best represent yourself to prospective employers, volunteer sites, graduate programs, and more. Both documents should be concise and tailored to a target audience – read below for tips on how to do so.  

Resume Building

While it’s useful to maintain a running document of everything you’ve done, knowing that the average recruiter spends less than 10 seconds scanning a resume, it’s important to make the best use of space and to choose wisely when selecting your most relevant experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Here are the most common categories used in college level resumes: 

  • Education 
  • Relevant Coursework 
  • Skills 
  • Projects 
  • Activities or Honors

When you get to the point of having multiple types of experiences, it can be helpful to separate out the Experience category into Relevant Experience and Additional Experience. It does not matter if the experiences are paid or unpaid, but that they are relevant to your applications. Anything that is important for them to see, needs to be on the top ¾ of the page.  

Other categories include International Experience, Leadership Experience, Research Experience, Community or Campus Involvement, Volunteer Experience, etc.  

If possible, keep your resume to one page, but for graduate students and experienced professionals this may not be possible. You still want to make sure you’re including only the most relevant information unless asked for a CV, which is more commonly requested for academic and research-based positions. This article can provide relevant tips for that format.

Writing Effective Descriptions

Instead of writing out what you did for each job, volunteer opportunity, club, etc. consider what you accomplished and if there are any tangible results, try and quantify them. For example, instead of saying you created a social media account for your summer retail job, you could say you ‘Created a Facebook page to increase awareness of their downtown store, resulting in 100+ engagements’.  

If you are running low on available space, dedicate more space to the more technical or relevant opportunities vs the more obvious duties of other jobs, like retail where it can be assumed what a cashier does every day. This is also where you can embed relevant keywords you are seeing in various job postings and demonstrate your skills in them (if applicable). Check out this list of Action Verbs to start each phrase off right.  

If you are really stuck and need assistance in drafting a resume, the Writing Center can assist with both online and in-person appointments. Once you’ve drafted a resume, the SCI Career Consultant can review it.  

Sample Resumes

  • Technical Resume (with formatting tips)
  • Computer Science – Undergraduate
  • Information Science – Undergraduate
  • DNID resume: coming soon 
  • Data science resume: coming soon
  • Graduate resume: coming soon

Cover Letter Building

While not every company requires a cover letter, they can be helpful if you haven’t spoken to anyone at the company before. It could be your only opportunity to provide more insight to why you are applying to the company/role, what you bring to it, and why you’d be a good fit. It’s also a great way to prepare for a first-round interview and understanding your motivations for applying (since the interviewer will ask).

Cover letters are even more important if you’ve been referred to the company or a particular role by a current or former employee. Referrals are consistently a great way to land a first interview, so be sure to include their name. It helps recruiters know that someone is willing to vouch for you or that you took the extra step to attend one of their recruitment events, network with an employee, etc.  

Check out this handout to start drafting a tailored cover letter and be sure to have someone review it.  

Sample Cover Letter

  • Sample Cover Letter: coming soon

Please note that many companies do not require cover letters, but have embedded supplemental essay questions in their online applications. For tips on how to write an effective cover letter or respond to supplemental application questions, check out this article .  


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CV and Resume Writing

Throughout your Pitt career and beyond, you will want to keep an up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume: an organized listing of your employment, volunteer and extracurricular activties as well as skills you build in your experiences.  While the Resume is typically shorter than a CV, you want to keep a detailed record since you can always slim it for a particular application format.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume:

A CV or Resume is an organized listing of your qualifications and experiences to show what you can do and what you know, presented in a succinct and structured format. (Here we use the terms interchangably and will refer to them as CV.)

The CV is often read quickly by people evaluating you for a lab position, job, school admission or funding.  Yours must be neat and readable with the most important information for the reader upfront and easily accessible.  You will need to reorganize it to change emphasis for different types of applications. 

CVs have many uses:

  • For you- it organizes your career information in one place -so keep updating a running list of your experiences. 
  • Should they hire you?  Give you the scholarship?  Accept you into their program?
  • For a first job in a field it will be used to determine your starting salary
  • Later in your career it will be used for contract renewals and promotions

Organize the CV for your audience:

Consider who will be reading your application and what they are looking for. What do they want in a researcher/employee/student? Why are they offering fellowships?  What is their "mindset" when reading your application?  How many applications are they probably reviewing and how much time do they have to spend on this?

Start here to build your CV:

First, brainstorm all of your experiences, outside of the classroom and even inside, beginning with high school.  List anything that might possibly be relevant. Cast a wide net and include any honors and scholarships.

Organize your information into categories.

Choose useful, descriptive, job-specific headings for your categories. (ex. Research Experiences, Teaching Experiences, Leadership Experiences)

Order the categories in order of importance for this position . And brag - put honors and scholarships up top if relevant. Focus on your audience for this particular application and on readability for these readers. 

Within each category:

  • Begin with most recent events in the category
  • Include specifics (people, places, dates) to connect to your audience and give yourself credibility
  • Describe your role using power action verbs (download list below) and succinct language.
  • Document skills you have developed.  Skills from lab courses count if you feel like you developed them well enough to repeat them without much new training.  Let people know what you can do !

Format with a simple, approachable style that makes you want to pick up the CV and read it first in the stack.  Use "white space" well and don't cram in your information.  Look for examples in the Biosc Advising Office and online.

Check that important information is easy to get.

PROOFREAD!  We cannot emphasize this enough.

Ask  for advice.  Show it to friends, family, classmates.  Bring it by the Biosci Advising Office.  Let people know the qualifications of the position so they can evaulate it with that in mind.  Ask them to be critical.  Pitt's Career Center will also help.

For more tips on CV/resume writing and power verb examples Click here !

Check out examples- good and bad- in the Biosc Advising Office.

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How to Write an Academic CV That Will Make You Stand Out

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Your CV serves as a comprehensive record of your educational background, teaching experience, academic research, and scholarly service. This document represents your academic credentials when applying for postdoctoral positions or for faculty positions at four-year institutions.

Join us in this webinar where we’ll review how to write an academic CV that will help you stand out in the hiring process.

This webinar is uniquely designed for doctoral students, PhDs, and postdocs from all academic disciplines who are wondering:

– What do I need to include in my academic CV? – How should I format an academic CV? – How can I make my CV stand out from others?

Register today at:

One more step:

Spread the word by sharing this event with your social networks, save it to your calendar, add to calendar.

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Nursing Resume Sample

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  1. Resume

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  1. CV Template

    CV Template Downloadable Word document with full multiple page CV sample. View Resource Related Resources Resume Examples Media and Professional Communications Sample Cover Letter Data Science Resume Sample Computational Biology Resume Sample SHRS Grad Student Resume Sample Show more Resume Examples Resume & Cover Letter Tips

  2. Writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    Writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV) This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time.

  3. PDF University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine CURRICULUM VITAE FORMAT

    CURRICULUM VITAE FORMAT All entries must be in chronologic order (not reverse chronologic order) Information and dates listed in CV must match information included in Executive Summary if you are also completing a portfolio for review Do not duplicate entries - Report each entry in only one category of best fit Include page numbers Name: Email:

  4. PDF Pitt CV Template

    CURRICULUM VITAE University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine BIOGRAPHICAL Name: Ronald E. Dahl Birth Place: Bradford, Pennsylvania Telephone: (412) 383-5430 Citizenship: U.S.A. Business Address: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine E-Mail Address: [email protected] Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic 3811 O'Hara Street, Loeffler 320 ...

  5. Resume Prep

    Resume Prep - Pitt Career Central | University of Pittsburgh Resume Prep Resumes and cover letters are crucial to your job search. Whether you're looking for a part-time job, internship, volunteer experience, graduate school acceptance, or full-time work, you will most likely need to create and maintain strong professional documents to apply.

  6. Resumes and Cover Letters

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  7. PDF Faculty Curriculum Vitae TEMPLATE

    Complete ARC-PA Faculty Curriculum Vitae TEMPLATE for the program director, medical director and other principal faculty. CV's to be available on site for instructional faculty should use the institution's academic format. Date Form Completed: November 21, 2022 *update Academic Appointments on page 2 Contact Information

  8. CV and Resume Writing

    Start here to build your CV: First, brainstorm all of your experiences, outside of the classroom and even inside, beginning with high school. List anything that might possibly be relevant. Cast a wide net and include any honors and scholarships. Organize your information into categories.

  9. Information for New Faculty

    Curriculum Vitae Template Updated 07/2023 PDF; Evaluations. Performance Review; ... University of Pittsburgh Drug Free Workplace/Drug Free Schools Policy ... Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213. Contact Faculty Affairs. 412-648-9060. Resources View Archives ...


    WHAT IS A RESUME? A resume is a document that summarizes your education, relevant job experience, involvement and leadership, and skills for the purpose of obtaining an interview when seeking employment. WHY SHOULD I WRITE A RESUME? Contrary to popular belief, your resume DOES NOT get you the job.

  11. PDF GSPH Formatted CV Template

    GSPH Formatted CV Template Undergraduate 2008 - 2012 Graduate 2012 - 2014 2016 - 2019 Post-Graduate 2019 - 2021 CURRICULUM VITAE EDUCATION AND TRAINING Spelman College Atlanta, GA Bachelor of Science, 2012 Biology Master of Public Health, 2014 Epidemiology

  12. PDF GSPH Formatted CV Template

    CURRICULUM VITAE NAME: Jodie M. Vento BUSINESS ADDRESS: Department of Human Genetics Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh 3136 Public Health 130 DeSoto Street Pittsburgh, PA 15261 Phone: 412-624-5390 Fax: 412-624-3020 E-mail: [email protected] EDUCATION AND TRAINING Undergraduate 2001-2005 University of Pittsburgh

  13. Resume Examples

    CV Template Downloadable Word document with full multiple page CV sample. View Resource Natural Sciences Resume Sample This resume should be downloaded and can be used as an editable Word document. You will use your own content … Read More Public Service Resume Sample This resume should be downloaded and can be used as an editable Word document.

  14. PDF GSPH Formatted CV Template

    CURRICULUM VITAE NAME: Ying Ding BUSINESS ADDRESS: A750 Public Health (412) 624-9407 [email protected] EDUCATION AND TRAINING Undergraduate Years of Attendance University City, State Degree, Year Awarded Field 1999-2003 Nanjing University Nanjing, China BS, 2003 Mathematics Graduate Years of Attendance University City, State Degree, Year

  15. PDF CURRICULUM VITAE FORMAT University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

    Pittsburgh, PA 15261 Business Phone: 412-648-9290 Business Fax: 412-648-8917 _____ EDUCATION and TRAINING . UNDERGRADUATE: 1984-1987 Oklahoma State University Bachelor of Science 1987 Microbiology Stillwater, OK . GRADUATE: 1988-1990 Oklahoma State University Master of Science 1990 Microbiology Stillwater, OK

  16. PDF Resume Template Guide

    2011 NATIONAL KAOHSIUNG NORMAL UNIVERSITY Kaohsiung, ROC (Taiwan) ... University of Pittsburgh SELECTED FELLOWSHIPS, GRANTS, AND HONORS 2021 Emerging Scholar Award, Association for Asian Performance 2021 Roberta Ma Scholarship, University of Maryland ($1,000) ... Resume Template Guide Author: BCC Created Date:

  17. PDF GSPH Formatted CV Template

    CURRICULUM VITAE . NAME: Ada O. Youk, Ph.D. BUSINESS ADDRESS: A728 Crabtree Hall, GSPH University of Pittsburgh ... 1984-88 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA B.A. (Cum Laude), 1988 Mathematics Graduate 1988-90 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA M.A., 1990 Applied Statistics 1990-96 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Ph.D., 1996 ...

  18. The Basics of Building Your Resume

    VMock - Smart Resume Platform Pitt Resources Verb Sheets Online Tools VMock - Smart Resume Platform Center for First-Generation Student Success Writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV) Networking Center for First-Generation Student Success Interview Tips

  19. Resources for Faculty

    School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh 3500 Victoria Street Victoria Building Pittsburgh, PA 15261. 412-624-4586 1-888-747-0794 [email protected] Contact Us

  20. PDF GSPH Formatted CV Template

    Pittsburgh, PA 15232 . Office: 412-864-7889 . Fax: 412-864-7838 . Email: [email protected] . EDUCATION AND TRAINING 10/1978-07/1983 Shanghai Medical University (now Shanghai Medical College Fudan University), Shanghai, China MD, 1983 Medicine Graduate 0 9 /1983 -10/1986 Shanghai Medical University School of Public Health (now

  21. How to Write an Academic CV That Will Make You Stand Out

    Your CV serves as a comprehensive record of your educational background, teaching experience, academic research, and scholarly service. This document represents your academic credentials when applying for postdoctoral positions or for faculty positions at four-year institutions.

  22. Cover Letter Setup Tips

    Cover letters serve as a bridge between your resume and the specific job to which you are applying. Therefore, there isn't a "one size fits all" cover letter. A cover letter is also a reflection of your writing skills, so take time and care to proofread and review your document. Click to see our tips for setting up a cover letter:


    Research University at Anywhere 711 Galaxy Road . Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center Anywhere, US 27516 . Anywhere, US 27513 (919) 555-1234 (919) 222-1234 . EDUCATION . Research University at Anywhere January 2014. Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology . University of Michigan, Ann Arbor May 2008. ...

  24. Nursing Resume Sample

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